QF hosts live screening of Emir’s address to the United Nations

Photo: Rahma El-Deeb

Faculty, staff and students from across Education City and Qatar Foundation packed the HBKU Student Center to watch a live broadcast of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani’s address to the United Nations on Tuesday, September 19.

Sheikh Tamim addressed the General Assembly, mentioning how he had in previous years stood and talked about the need for international cooperation in resolving conflicts and human rights violations in other countries. In contrast, he said, “This time I stand here, while my country and my people are subjected to a continuing and unjust blockade imposed since June 5th by neighboring countries.”

The blockade was initiated by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt against Qatar on claims that the peninsula was funding terrorism in the region.

The emir called out the blockading countries’ attempts to bring Qatar down by hacking the Qatar News Agency in May. “Funds are still being spent unsparingly on the machine of faking and disseminating fabrications in the hope of fooling people by distorting the truth with lies,” he said.

The emir added that the blockade breached many rights defined by the UN and various international organizations.

“This illegal blockade was not confined to the economic aspect and the breach of the WTO [World Trade Organization] Agreement, but it exceeded that to violate the human rights conventions by the arbitrary measures that have caused social, economic and religious harm to thousands of citizens and residents of the GCC countries, due to the violation of the basic human rights to work, education, freedom of movement and the right to dispose of private property,” he said.

Sheikh Tamim also discussed conflicts occurring elsewhere in the world, such as in Palestine, Iraq and Yemen, and the need to unite in discussions and humanitarian assistance. He called for the government of Myanmar and the international community to “assume their legal and moral responsibility” to stop the violence against that country’s Rohingya minority.

The emir added that, when it came to various humanitarian crises, the world’s major powers should not position themselves in either one of two extremes: “the direct occupation to impose the will and policy on other countries, or standing idly in a spectator’s position who refrain from doing anything vis-a-vis wars of genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated by a fascist despotic regime, or a continuous repression by an occupying country of people under occupation.”

In his concluding remarks, he called Qatar “a safe haven for the oppressed” and said the country will continue to act as a mediator in efforts “to find just solutions in conflict zones.”

The emir’s address was well-received by the attendees that packed the Hamad Bin Khalifa University Student Center ballroom.

“Sheikh Tamim made a really exciting speech… a very global speech. It crystalizes the position of Qatar as leader of the region,” said Paulino Gil, a graduate student at the HBKU College of Islamic Studies.

“I was so proud to hear his speech and inspired by the strength that he has to face all of these counties that went against him,” said Maryam Sadighi, a senior at Stenden University in Qatar. “Compared to other leaders, he’s really young, but his confidence and achievements prove what he’s capable of.”

Photo: Rahma El-Deeb

Leading up to the emir’s address, QF held various activities throughout the day. Nationalistic songs blared through speakers placed on roundabouts around Education City and at the Ceremonial Court. Before the speech began, Qatari sword-dancers performed, and vendors distributed free pins and shirts with Sheikh Tamim’s image printed on them, as well as Qatari flags and free food and drinks. Additionally, headphones were provided to run a live translation of the address for non-Arabic speakers attending the event.

The festive environment proved contagious for many of the locals and expats attending.

Gil Rankin, a clinical activation consultant at the Sidra Medical and Research Center, expressed her anticipation for the speech. “This is a great opportunity to bring people together… and to celebrate the emir’s role in holding Qatar together through this difficult time,” she said.

Ali Sikander, head of digital and social media at Qatar Foundation, recognized the importance of holding this screening within Education City. “Education City is such a strategic location because we think everything starts from education in all modern societies,” he said.




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